NIGEL SPACKMAN says a Euro 2012 quarter-final berth is the best that England can hope for.
Roy Hodgson's side will start their build-up for Poland and Ukraine tomorrow night with a friendly against Norway in Oslo before following that up with a Wembley farewell against Belgium a week tomorrow.
But the ex-Rangers, Liverpool and Chelsea midfielder (pictured below) believes the Three Lions will do well to escape from Group D where France, Sweden and co-hosts Ukraine await them.
While Spackman believes there is no point in reading too much into the results of the friendly forays, he admits the Norway clash is a great opportunity for the England players to stake a claim for a starting berth in the tournament opener against France on June 11.
He said: "I think Euro 2012 is looking pretty daunting for England. You look at the other three teams in Group D and we couldn't have got it much tougher. We have never done particularly well against the French and they have beaten us in previous European championships like at Euro 2004.
"The Swedes have done us in major tournaments as well and then you throw in one of the co-hosts Ukraine, who are in my opinion one of the best technical sides in the championship, and it all adds up to a very big challenge for us to make the knockout stages.
"So I think if we do make the last eight that would represent success for Roy Hodgson at his first tournament as England manager."
While Hodgson may not have had the media backing enjoyed by Tottenham Hotspur gaffer Harry Redknapp, Spackman believes the former West Brom gaffer will prove a safe pair of hands to steer England through the dangerous waters of the international game.
He said: "I think Roy Hodgson has managed 16 different teams in eight countries and when it comes to the international game they don't come more experienced.
"He guided Switzerland to the last 16 of the 1994 World Cup and qualification for Euro 1996 when they had not qualified for a major tournament since the 1960s.
"Then six or seven years back he managed the Finland national team and I think he had them at their highest ever FIFA ranking of 33rd place. So Roy is going to provide the type of calm and experienced head we need in charge."
Looking ahead to tomorrow night's encounter with Norway, Spackman says there are a couple of pointers that can be taken from the game.
He said: "We know that Wayne Rooney is suspended for the opening two Group D games with France and Sweden, so for the other strikers like Andy Carroll and Jermain Defoe this could be a massive opportunity.
"This is also a great opportunity to prepare, particularly for the Sweden game. Scandinavian sides are much of a muchness."